Frozen yogurt shops are growing increasingly popular across the nation, from Los Angeles to New York— and now on South University Avenue.
Mack Kim and Joseph Ann, two Michigan natives, are in the intermediate stages of opening Yogobliss at 1229 S. University Ave. The store will offer frozen yogurt as a healthy alternative to traditional ice cream.
Kim said the idea to open a yogurt shop began when his wife tried Pinkberry — a trendy frozen yogurt shop located in California and New York — for the first time while the couple was on vacation and loved it. He said he now hopes to share a similar treat with Ann Arbor.
After first trying to open a satellite location for an already-established yogurt franchise, Kim decided to try “the next best thing” and start a yogurt place of his own.
“The taste will be similar to Red Mango,” Kim said. He described yogurt from Red Mango — another frozen yogurt chain currently located in nine states — as tarter and creamier than Pinkberry yogurt. He said that the taste will also be different from the yogurts from international chain TCBY and the local café, Amer’s Mediterranean Deli.
He admits that the first time some people taste Yogobliss, “they’ll think its kind of weird.”
But don’t give up on it just yet, Kim said, calling Yogobliss’s product “an acquired taste.”
Yogobliss will sell cream-based yogurt in four flavors: original, green tea, strawberry and mango. To spruce up the snack, customers will also have 30 toppings from which to choose. Kim said there will most likely be 12 freshly cut fruit toppings and 18 dry toppings.
Along with the four flavors of yogurt, Kim and Ann plan to sell gelato, shakes, smoothies, iced coffee and the milk tea variety of Bubble Tea.
Kim said the Yogobliss product would also contain probiotics which he said “are good for your immune system and reduce your chance for colon cancer.”
A small original-flavored yogurt is five ounces and just 90 calories per serving, according to Kim, a medium-sized yogurt is 8 ounces and a large-sized yogurt is 12 ounces.
In an interview yesterday, Amer Batish, owner of Amer’s Mediterranean Deli said, “frozen yogurt is getting more and more popular because people are health concerned.”
Though Yogobliss means Batish will have more competition, he suspected there would be enough customers to support both eateries.
“Healthy competition is good,” Batish said.
Officials at Stucchi’s, an Ann Arbor go-to for homemade ice cream and frozen yogurt, had a similar attitude toward Yogobliss’s opening.
Kate Bodden, the manager of Stucchi’s and an LSA sophomore said that although Stucchi’s might lose some customers in the market for frozen yogurt, “in terms of ice cream, people have favorite flavors and are not going to stop coming to Stucchi’s.”
Kim said that in with its design, Yogobliss will be decorated with chic pod chairs and ghost chairs that give off a futuristic vibe and will seat around 20 people at a time. The walls will be adorned with edgy wall art and three LCD televisions.
Kim said that he wants to create “a place where people can hang out.”
Kim, who attended Eastern Michigan University, said he feels close ties to Ann Arbor.
“Coming back to campus makes me feel younger … it makes you feel like you’re back in school,” Kim said.
Though still in the works, Kim said grand opening plans will most likely include “50 percent off for everything” on the first day and is expected to take place in mid- to late March of this year.